I just love all the stories God has laid out in the bible for us. They show a picture of someone’s whole life. For me it is easy to believe that bible character’s are better than me. I mean they had a connection with God, and he used them to do amazing things! But in reality, they were human just like me. They made mistakes and God still used them. They fell short, but God still loved them. Moses was a murderer, Abraham was a liar, and David committed adultery. God used them all to accomplish great things. I can look on their lives, and learn from their mistakes. I can see all their struggles and challenges, and how God blessed them and forgave them. There is no one that is out of reach of God’s forgiveness. We all so desperately need it.
As I look at Joseph’s life I can’t help but believe that he was a very content man. It never specifically says it in the bible, but if you read his story he is never accused of complaining and grumbling. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers, he was thrown in jail even though he was innocent, he asked to be remembered before Pharaoh, but was forgotten about. He sat in jail for years for something he didn’t do. Yet it is never mentioned that he murmured and complained. I can’t help but to think he probably did think that it was unfair and struggled with the way his life was going. But it wasn’t enough that it was bothered to be mentioned. To me that says he was content with wherever God was leading him. It says in Genesis 39:21 “But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” Joseph knew God was with him. I think he probably drew all of his peace and content attitude resting assured God cared for him even in the prison. He always gave the glory to God. When Pharaoh asked Joseph to interpret his dream, Joseph answered him and said “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” He didn’t take credit for himself. Before long Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt. Joseph went from jail to ruler, just like that. That shows me that God had his hand on him, and had a plan for him. Joseph had the right attitude and waited patiently for God to complete his work.
A few things I have learned from Joseph:
–Listen to God.
He listened to God when he had his dream about his brother’s bowing down to him. He believed that it would come to pass. Even with everything he went through, he trusted God because he chose to listen and believe what God was telling him.
– Give all the glory to God. Joseph acknowledged that he couldn’t do anything without God. Everything that he was, was because of God. He did not take any glory for himself.
Joseph waited and waited in jail not knowing what was going to happen to him. All the while he waited patiently through it. He did not become bitter, and all the while he was willing to help others out.
Joseph forgave his brothers. Not only did he forgive them, he fed them. They sold him! What rejection he must have felt! But he chose to forgive them.
Joseph trusted in God no matter what. He was not bitter as he looked back on what had happened to him. When his father died, his brothers became fearful that Joseph would get back at them for what they had done to him. Joseph’s response was: “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:19-20) He acknowledged that God used his life for good. Instead of focusing on the bad he looked at the good that his trials brought.
I think all these attributes that Joseph had contributed to his content spirit. When I read through his story I just have this feeling that he was a very patient, content man. God blessed him for all his patience. Even though it took awhile for him to achieve “earthy blessings” I think Joseph noticed all the small things. Like being favored in prison. God didn’t have to do that, but I think it was a little gift to Joseph to remind him he was there. I don’t think Joseph overlooked these things.
Scripture to ponder:
Roman’s 8:28- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
Homework for the Heart:
Read through Genesis 37-50.
Reflect on all that happened to Joseph and how he responded to it. Look at your own life. How do you respond when things don’t go your way? Do you give God the glory and trust him even when you can’t understand what he is doing? Do you overlook all the small blessings God places in your life? Try to look for those small gifts he places in your path!